Pakistan’s State of Denial

Pakistan’s State of Denial


“For 6 days as we trafficked with a officers of a 9th Division domicile during Comilla we witnessed during tighten buliding a border of a killing,” Mr. Mascarenhas wrote in a lengthy, ban news published underneath a title “Genocide” in a Jun 13, 1971, book of The Sunday Times.

“I saw Hindus, wanted from encampment to encampment and doorway to door, shot light after a cursory ‘short-arm inspection’ showed they were uncircumcised. we have listened a screams of group bludgeoned to genocide in a devalue of a Circuit House (civil executive headquarters) in Comilla. we have seen truckloads of other tellurian targets and those who had a amiability to try to assistance them hauled off ‘for disposal’ underneath a cover of dark and curfew.”

Four decades later, Mr. Mascarenhas’s supervision still insists on denying a past: a mass murdering of civilians (perhaps as many as 3 million), a targeting of Hindus, a systematic rape of thousands. On Dec. 16, Pakistan’s National Assembly adopted a fortitude expressing regard over a new execution of Abdul Quader Mollah, a personality of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s heading Islamic party, who was convicted by a Bangladeshi probity of committing murder and rape while collaborating with a Pakistani Army during a 1971 war. Calling Mr. Mollah a Pakistani pacifier — and a autonomy of Bangladesh “the tumble of Dhaka” — a multiparty infancy of a open complained that Mr. Mollah was condemned given of his “loyalty to Pakistan” and asked a Bangladeshi supervision to dump all other cases opposite a Jamaat leadership.

There is no doubt a Pakistani Army committed fight crimes in 1971. Yet in story books and schoolrooms via Pakistan, a army’s atrocities are glossed over.

This rejection prevails notwithstanding an central examine by a Pakistani Army. Just after a war, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto set adult an eccentric legal elect to examine atrocities committed in East Pakistan in sequence to know because a army had catastrophic there. When a Hamoodur Rahman Commission news was published in 1974, it documented how, underneath a disguise of quashing a rebellion, a Pakistani Army had designed and carried out a execution of intellectuals, soldiers, officials, businessmen and industrialists, and had buried them in mass graves.

The elect endorsed that a Pakistani supervision set adult a special probity to serve examine bungle by a army. This never happened, and a news remained personal for scarcely 3 decades. Five Pakistani heads of state have visited Bangladesh given 1971 but fluctuating a grave apology. The closest any of them came to noticing Pakistan’s wrongs was Pervez Musharraf, who wrote in 2002 in a visitors’ book during a fight commemorative nearby Dhaka, “Your brothers and sisters in Pakistan share a heedfulness of a events of 1971. The excesses committed during a hapless duration are regrettable.”

Bangladesh’s possess efforts to understanding with a disorderly birth were catastrophic — until 2008, when a Awami League was voted into energy partly on a charge to reason a fight crimes hearing that would move to probity a people who collaborated with a Pakistani Army in 1971. (By afterwards Bangladeshis had grown sap of unbroken governments’ branch a blind eye to crimes many of their possess families had endured.) The International Crimes Tribunal was combined in 2009; 12 group have been charged so far; 3 of them have been convicted, including Mr. Mollah.

From a outset, a probity was stubborn with criticism. It has been indicted of trimming ubiquitous procedural standards and of being politically motivated: Most of a indicted are members of Jamaat-e-Islami. In Dec 2012, President Abdullah Gul of Turkey requested “clemency” for a defendants, on a drift that they were “too old” to mount trial. On a eve of Mr. Mollah’s appeal, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly warned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh that Mr. Mollah’s execution would emanate instability on a eve of a ubiquitous choosing set for Jan. 5.

Whatever one thinks of these trials or a genocide chastisement generally, a judgment opposite Mr. Mollah was handed down by an eccentric probity in a emperor nation on a basement of endless watcher testimony. And Mr. Mollah’s execution on Dec. 12 had widespread open support. Never mind Prime Minister Hasina’s flaws: At slightest she has had a domestic bravery to take a mount opposite whitewashing a past, while a antithesis leader, Khaleda Zia, has reinforced her ties with Jamaat by remaining wordless on a matter.

But then, a few days after Mr. Mollah’s execution — precisely on a anniversary of Pakistani Army’s obey to eccentric Bangladesh — a Pakistani National Assembly adopted a denialist resolution. Instead of ancillary Bangladesh’s efforts to come to terms with a heartless birth, Pakistan is pouring salt into a wounds. Pakistan, it is high time we apologize.

Tahmima Anam is a author and anthropologist, and a author of a novel “A Golden Age.”

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